His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen was this morning invested as a Knight of Grace of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. At the Investiture Ceremony, which was held in the Ballroom of King’s House, Professor Anthony Mellows, Lord Prior of the Order, bestowed the honour in representation of Her Majesty The Queen.
This prestigious occasion was witnessed by approximately two hundred specially invited guests, including Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and other representatives of the Government; Chief Justice the Hon. Mrs. Zaila McCalla, Acting President of the Court of Appeal, the Hon. Mrs. Hazel Harris and other members of the Judiciary; Contractor General Dirk Harrison; members of the Diplomatic Corps; uniformed groups as well as the National Council of the St. John Association in Jamaica, which is chaired by Mr. Earl Jarrett, Jamaica National Building Society’s General Manager.
The Lord Prior congratulated The Governor-General on behalf of the more than 400,000 members and staff of the Order of St. John worldwide. He stated that while receiving this recognition was an honour for Sir Patrick personally, it was more so an honour for him as Governor-General, therefore an honour for Jamaica. Professor Mellows also described the investiture ceremony being held at King’s House, rather than at Buckingham Palace, as being “so much more satisfying” as it provided an opportunity for this special occasion to be witnessed and shared by many Jamaicans. He took the opportunity to remind all present that the Order of St. John was not an exclusive Club, but one to which anyone could aspire, once the prescribed criteria were met.
In his response, The Governor-General, expressed his sincere appreciation for the honour bestowed on him, adding that receiving this award was a humbling experience. According to him, “This act epitomizes my life and objective to be of service to my fellowmen, my God, spending my whole life mending broken people! It has allowed me to recommit myself to that purpose.”
Paying tribute to the volunteers, The Governor-General underscored the fact that they worked “with selfless dedication”. He stated that “The Order of St. John is a source of inspiration for all who are called to service, and a reminder to look beyond our immediate circumstance and focus on the needs of the less fortunate.”
Sir Patrick reminded the audience that The Order of St. John, and in particular the well known St. John Ambulance, has been fully embraced by the people of Jamaica since 1899. St. John volunteers performed duties during the Second World War at both the refugee and detention camp at Mona, now the University of the West Indies, and also at the Kingston Public Hospital.
Patron of the National Council of the St. John Association in Jamaica, Sir Patrick commended the “professional and quality service” provided by the local staff and volunteers. He acknowledged their reassuring presence at major sporting events, international conference as well as at large national events such as Independence celebrations and the National Honours and Awards ceremony.
As of today, the Governor-General’s official title is: His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J.
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